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Thursday, March 4, 2004



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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jasmine Trias waved to well-wishers during a Feb. 24 event in her honor at Sacred Heart Church.



Jasmine also wins
‘American Idol’ nod

The Maryknoll senior got a rare
hat trick of approval from judges


Yes, Hawaii, she's in.

As with Maui's Camile Velasco two weeks ago, Maryknoll senior Jasmine Trias, of Mililani, scored a rare sweep, winning kudos from all three judges during Tuesday night's "American Idol" broadcast and earning enough public votes to advance in the national singing contest, announced last night.

Trias' interpretation of Whitney Houston's "Run to You" received glowing endorsements from celebrity evaluators Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell and a vote of confidence from viewers across America.

"You have potential. I actually really like you," offered Jackson. "I would hope that you would get through and continue to go and get better."

"I think you sing great," added Abdul. "I'm really proud of you. I think you're a pro."

Cowell, typically the hardest nut to crack, was unequivocally supportive. "You're going to get a lot of votes," he remarked, "because you're 17, you've got a nice smile and you've got a flower in your hair. You are potentially a very good singer, no question or doubt. Good enough for me."

His affirmation elicited a joyous ovation from Trias' supporters who packed the Show Room at Dave & Buster's at the Ward Entertainment Center Tuesday night.

Cowell was right. Trias garnered the second-largest number of votes, next to John Stevens, of East Amherst, N.Y.

Local girl Paula Fuga, best known for her charming ukulele-embellished performance on Monday's "American Idol: Uncut, Uncensored & Untalented" episode featuring the program's curiosities, close calls and out-and-out flops, came away thoroughly impressed by Trias' performance.

"She was awesome, man. She's going to keep getting a ton of votes," raved Fuga. "The judges gave her really good comments, so I know she's going to make it far."

Equally appreciative was Jonah Moananu, the native talent from "American Idol's" third round of 32 finalists. Despite missing the cut on prime-time TV last week, as well as a coveted wild-card spot last night, Moananu remained in good spirits.

"I thought she handled herself very well," he noted. "She was real composed and very mature for her age. She came out and didn't hold back anything.

"She threw it all down, left it where it was and all the judges loved her. She was able to maintain her reputation as one of the best in the competition."

Moananu knows well her standing as one of the field's top-notch performers. Of the 140 competitors who were whisked to Hollywood following the nationwide tryouts last fall, only 32 were selected by the show's producers to be part of "American Idol's" TV broadcast. The week-long process was rough, he says, though nothing seemed to faze Trias.

"Every single day, she did awesome," Moananu revealed, "as opposed to other people like myself. I went up and down and everybody struggled, but she just breezed through it. She deserves to go on."

Next week's program will feature 12 wild-card selections, chosen by "AI's" producers, for a second shot at the limelight. Based on a behind-the-scenes tryout this weekend, eight will be selected to perform for a TV audience on Tuesday.

Each judge will pick a favorite, while America chooses the fourth. These wild cards will be added to the current group of eight finalists -- Velasco and Trias included -- who return for another elimination round March 16.

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